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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 14. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), The campaign from the Wilderness to Petersburg—Address of Colonel C. S Venable (formerly of General R. E. Lee's staff), of the University of Virginia, before the Virginia division f the Army of Northern Virginia, at their annual meeting, held in the Virginia State Capitol, at Richmond, Thursday , October 30th, 1873. (search)
pathway. That General Lee's bold strategy was very unexpected to the enemy, is well illustrated by the fact recorded by Swinton, the Federal historian, that when the advance of Warren's corps struck the head of Ewell's column, on the morning of the and Stuart, with the assistance of several brigades of infantry sent to him by Anderson, soon created in the enemy what Swinton describes as an excited and nervous condition of mind and a tendency to stampede—ascribed by him, however, to want of re and the battery, which, after doing much execution at short range, had fallen into the hands of the attacking force. Swinton, blindly followed by several other writers, speaks here of the capture of nine hundred prisoners from Rodes. This is an When a renewal of the attack was ordered by General Grant in the forenoon, most of his troops refused to move, and says Swinton: His immobile lines pronounced a silent, yet emphatic verdict against further slaughter. On the 4th of June we had a re
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 14. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Book notices. (search)
hat Lee's losses were nearly, if not fully as heavy as Grant's, and that Grant's campaign was a splendid success which raised to the highest pitch the morale of the Army of the Potomac, while it depressed and demoralized the Army of Northern Virginia to such an extent that it steadily melted away until the end came. Now any one who will read Grant's narrative of this campaign in connection with the official reports—or will compare it with the accounts of Early, Venable, Walter H. Taylor, Swinton, or Humphreys, will see at once that it is all stuff—the veriest romance that was ever attempted to be palmed off as history. The real truth about that campaign is given by Colonel Venable in his address before the Army of Northern Virginia Association, which we publish in this volume, and is in brief simply this: As soon as Grant with his immense host, crossed the Rapidan, Lee moved out and attacked him—Lee made no move in the campaign which was not to meet the enemy—there was never a da
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 16. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Address of Colonel Edward McCrady, Jr. before Company a (Gregg's regiment), First S. C. Volunteers, at the Reunion at Williston, Barnwell county, S. C, 14th July, 1882. (search)
ed to renew the assault, the whole army correctly appreciating what the inevitable result must be, silently disobeyed. Again, the same writer says: The most eulogistic biographer of the great Federal general speaks as though it were under his breath when he tells the story of the battle of Cold Harbor. There was a rush, says such an one; a bitter struggle, a rapid interchange of deadly fire and the (Federal) army became conscious that the task was more than it could do. The testimony of Swinton, himself an eye-witness, is more emphatic and complete: It took hardly more than ten minutes to decide the battle. There was along the whole line a rush—the spectacle of impregnable works, a bloody loss, a sullen falling back, and the action was decided. What an ignominious end to a boast, or what a failure in the fulfillment of a promise that he would fight his way to Richmond over the land route if it took him all the summer! By the first of June Grant had not only failed in this bo
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 17. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Robert Edward Lee. (search)
housand miles of front? In every quarter, at one and the same moment, the Confederacy felt the furious impact of a whole nation's force driven on by the resistless will of a single commander. Grant's aggressiveness, Grant's stubbornness, Grant's unyielding resolve to destroy the Confederate armies, seemed suddenly to animate every corps, every division, almost every man of the Federal host. Even now we stand aghast at the awful disparity in the numbers and resources of the two armies. Swinton puts the force under Grant's immediate eye on the first day of the campaign at 140,000 men. Grant himself puts it at 116,000. It is certain that Lee had less than 64,000 soldiers of all arms. But, in addition, Grant was directing against Richmond or its communications 30,000 men under Butler, 17,000 under Sigel and Crook, and a numerous and powerful fleet. Let me give two examples of the extraordinary means at his disposal. He never went into camp but that, within an hour or two, eve
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 18. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 9 (search)
ay's fight at Gettysburg they secured the elevated ridge known as Oak Hill, which was the key-note of the entire field. Swinton, in his Army of the Potomac, says: When towards three o'clock a general advance was made by the Confederates, Rodes speecaution, which else would have resulted in his supersedure after his terrible losses at Cold Harbor, where, according to Swinton, he had thirteen thousand of his men killed and wounded within the space of two hours, and this without inflicting but land in the afternoon reached Seventh street pike, which leads into Washington. In a history of the Army of the Potomac, Swinton, in speaking of this movement, says: By afternoon the Confederate infantry had come up and showed a strong line in front, where there was a feeling that so far the war had been a failure, which, in commenting on, in his Army of the Potomac, Swinton says, that when the records of the War Department shall be carefully examined they will develop discoveries of the most
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 20. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.9 (search)
took part, as narrated in the foregoing letters and statements, I have deemed it best to conclude this address by making some extracts from the official records to be found in Volume XXXVI, part 1, series I of The War of the Rebellion, and from Swinton's Campaigns of the Army of the Potomac. General Longstreet, in his report (Rebellion Record, Volume XXXVI, part I, page 1054), says: About 10 o'clock Major-General M. L. Smith and the others sent out to examine the enemy's position repthe column, when suddenly confronting a portion of his own flanking force, the cavalcade was mistaken for a party of Union horsemen, and received a volley, under which Longstreet fell, severely wounded. In a foot note to the last paragraph Mr. Swinton says: General Longstreet stated to the writer that he saw they were his own men, but in vain shouted to them to cease firing. He also expressed, with great emphasis, his opinion of the decisive blow he would have inflicted had he not be
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 20. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.14 (search)
trian general once said of Napoleon. On one occasion when asked by a French officer what he thought of the state of the war, he replied: Nothing could be worse on your side. Here you have a youth who knows nothing of the rules of war. To-day he is in our rear, to morrow on our flank, next day in our front. Such gross violations of the principles of the art of war are not to be supported. I refer, of course, to the campaign against Grant, from the Rapidan to Petersburg, in which Swinton says the Army of Northern Virginia killed and wounded more of the enemy than it had men in its ranks. Although this campaign is teeming with the splendid work of the artillery from the beginning to the end I can only refer to one of its performances. General Ewell in speaking of the battle of the 18th May, 1864, at Spottsylvania courthouse, says: When well within range General Long opened upon them with thirty pieces of artillery which, with the fire of our skirmishers, broke and dro
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 21. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Last days of the army of Northern Virginia. (search)
Naval batalion, which are not borne on the last morning report of the A. N. V. of February 20, 1865, and accept, though it may be erroneously, the conclusion of Humphreys that Wise's brigade is not included in these returns. Colonel Taylor may be right, and my estimate be erroneous. My purpose in accepting the figures of Humphreys is to show the disparity of numbers, even conceding all reputable claims of our strength by writers on the other side. This estimate is substantially that of Swinton, another very careful Northern writer, who states that at this time, from his left northeast of Richmond to his right beyond Petersburg as far as Hatcher's Run, there were thirty-five miles of breastworks which it behooved Lee to guard, and all the force remaining to him was 37,000 muskets and a small body of broken down horse. Mr. Stanton, Federal Secretary of War, reported that General Grant had available on the 1st of March, 1865, in the armies of Meade, Ord and Sheridan, an available
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 23. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), The Longstreet-Gettysburg controversy [from the Richmond (Va.) Dispatch, February 16, 1896.] (search)
pated in the battle, so far as I have been able to ascertain, was made by General Longstreet in Swinton's Army of the Potomac, which was published in the spring of 1866. In this book (page 340) SwSwinton says, and gives Longstreet as his authority for the statement: Indeed, in entering upon this campaign, General Lee expressly promised his corps-commanders that he would not assume a tactical oflost that equipoise in which his faculties commonly moved, and he determined to give battle. Swinton then proceeds to criticise Lee very severely for not manoeuvring Meade out of the Gettysburg poon Lee were not replied to by the latter, though it is within my personal knowledge that he had Swinton's book and read at least a portion of it, and none of Lee's subordinates thought proper to make the prompt and cheerful execution of his orders by his subordinates, General Early said: If Mr. Swinton has told the truth in repeating in his book what is alleged to have been said to him by Gener
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), Malvern HillJuly 1, 1862. (search)
my orders accordingly for the two divisions to go around and turn the Federal right, when, in some way unknown to me, the battle was drawn on. We were repulsed at all points with fearful slaughter, losing 6,000 men and accomplishing nothing. Swinton, who refers to our army as that incomparable body of men, the glorious infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia, says of Malvern Hill: Lee never before or since that action delivered a battle so ill-judged in conception or so faulty in its detae, I must have noticed it. I am positive that he had not even taken a drink, most certainly was not the least excited from this cause. It would be an easy task to show that at no time during that period, was Magruder inactive or inefficient. Swinton, the historian, says of the fight at Savage's Station: Magruder attacked in front with characteristic impetuosity about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, expecting Jackson, whose route led in flank and rear, to arrive and decide the action. Aga
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